The best water ice in Philadelphia

water ice
J. Varney for Visit Philadelphia

Summer is here and it’s already a scorcher. Luckily for us Philly folks, water ice is a summertime staple and one of the most refreshing things you can eat when it’s hot and humid outside. From homegrown favorites like John’s Water Ice and Pop’s to accessible yet lovable chains like Rita’s Italian Ice, here are our picks for the best water ice in Philadelphia.

John’s Water Ice
701 Christian St.

This Bella Vista gem has been open since 1945 and uses all real ingredients in their wholesome water ice — nothing artificial. The original menu offers lemon, cherry, chocolate and pineapple as flavors, and each week following Memorial Day, one to two special flavors will be featured. Variety is the spice of life, right?


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Pop’s Homemade Water Ice
1337 W. Oregon Ave.

Located a half a block from Broad Street, this South Philadelphia favorite has been around since 1932 and, according to their website, makes their water ice daily in small batches. Raved-about flavors include lemon and mint chocolate chip. Keep in mind that this is a cash-only establishment so be sure to come prepared when you order at the window.


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Rita’s Italian Ice
Multiple locations

Some Philadelphians love Rita’s and others strongly oppose them, choosing instead to support locally owned small businesses. If you work in Center City, however, and need a water ice break in the middle of the workweek, this is your best option. (Who has time to trek all the way to South Philly?) Choose from a crazy selection of flavors like banana, cotton candy and Swedish Fish, or keep it simple like me with lemon. 


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